In a recent op-ed in Time Magazine, two of the top gun control activists in the U.S. Congress continued their tired drumbeat for laws that would have no impact on the safety of our communities.
U.S. Senators Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Dianne Feinstein of California, both Democrats, once again took the easy path toward their long-standing anti-gun rhetoric. Instead of basing their arguments on evidence and facts, they take the emotional-low road.
Punish the Law-Abiding
Anyone reading their piece (assuming anyone does read op-eds in Time), would read the list of tragic shooting incidents that have happened over the past decades, and feel the pull of their emotions. Anger, frustration, sadness… no one wants these to occur.
But then these elected officials pivot from tragedy to call for new laws. What they fail to do is to show that the laws would have prevented any of these tragedies. Why is that? Why do these senators with multiple offices full of staffers dedicated to conducting exactly this kind of research fail to make this connection between emotion and proposals?
Well, the evidence simply does not exist. Law-abiding citizens qualified to own firearms follow the laws. Criminals and those mentally ill who seek to harm others do not. Enacting more laws will not change that.
Selling False Promises
Just last week we pointed out the flaws with their calls for a federal universal background check bill. But Sens. Feinstein and Murphy don’t stop there. They also want to ban modern sporting rifles and limit the capacity of magazines, following New Zealand’s example.
What they don’t mention is that out of the estimated 1.2 million guns in New Zealand, a whopping 37 have been surrendered since the ban was enacted. This is likely because gun owners know that they are not the problem, and criminals do not abide by the law.
The ignorance of these senators goes further. According to the op-ed, “Guns like the AR-15 aren’t used for hunting and they’re not viable for home protection.” Again, false. Modern sporting rifles, including those on the AR platform, are among the most popular firearms being sold today. They are widely used for everything from sport shooting, to hunting, to home defense.
The firearms and ammunition industry shares the concern about the criminal misuse of firearms. That’s why we voluntarily run programs that target the real sources of crime and unauthorized access to firearms. They may not be as well-covered in the media as the emotionally popular soundbites, but these programs are working to help make our communities safer.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel at National Shooting Sports Foundation.